More Innovation Lab goodness:
My daughter Eva (age 6) drew a picture of a Unicorn, and I decided to make a model of it, using 3D printing. This is “Gigi” the Unicorn:
A quick bit of Photoshoppery to turn the mobile phone image into a line drawing. Tip number one – a good scan makes less work to tidy it up:
Photoshoppery part 2:
Photoshoppery part 3:
Import the cleaned-up line drawing into SolidWorks, and use the spline drawing tool to follow the imported line-drawing. This is a simple extruded shape without too much time spent on making it a real ‘Unicorn’ shape, because a) my daughter didn’t draw a three dimensional object, so I can’t really follow her intent, and b) I didn’t want to spend a month killing myself with surfaces.
Same process more-or-less for the other Unicorn features. A bit of mucking around to make it stand up on level ground (adjusting the tail) and the sweep-helix horn wouldn’t work, so I made it a lot simpler. The final step was to scale the model so it’s approximately 60mm tall.
Here’s a 3D pdf of the CAD file (open it in Adobe PDF Reader): Unicorn CAD file 3D PDF
Then make an STL file of the model (hard move this, ‘Save As…STL’), so it can import into the 3D printer software:
Import the STL file into the UP! 3D printer software, which is pretty straightforward to set up:
The software tells you how much ABS the model will use, and how long it will take. It also tells you how many layers will make up the print, because the Unicorn is on it’s side, it is only 27 layers.
Here is it being printed. You’ll notice that here is one being printed well, alongside one that lifted off the build platform so I had to throw it away half done, and the resulting extruded plastic mess that is going nowhere. Various issues led me to make four prints in the end:
The finished Unicorn, compared with the STL to-print image:
The poor half-done one that lifted off the build platform, that unfortunately had to be sent to the plastic Findus lasagne factory:
Two good prints, left showing the model as it comes off the machine with support material, right with support material removed (with pliers and swearing):
Completed GiGi the Unicorn, approximately 60mm high. You can see the resolution of the extruded plastic, but this is more a factor of fine details on a small part:
Here’s a video of the 3D printer in action:
and finally, here is Eva (on my lap) describing to her Mum what we were doing: